Amid reports of an imminent deal with The Movement party of Tzipi Livni, with six seats, and Shaul Mofaz’s Kadima party with two seats, the chareidim appear willing to support the removal of yishuvim towards saving yeshivos, the daily Maariv reports.
It appears that a deal is imminent by which Tzipi Livni will serve as Minister of Justice and Shaul Mofaz as Minister of Strategic Affairs or Minister of Negev & Galil Development, bringing eight seats to Likud/Beitenu’s 31 seats. If both Shas and Yahadut Hatorah come on board, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will have 57 seats, close but still without a Knesset majority. However, signing with Livni and Mofaz will send a clear message to Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi.
Maariv reports that in their increasing desire to get into the coalition Yahadut Hatorah is completing its statement of principles, which includes giving the coalition a green light to uproot yishuvim in return for “saving the yeshiva world” and maintaining the status quo regarding the drafting of bnei yeshivos.
This document includes the chareidi party approving a number of measures that will most likely be part of US President Barak Obama’s diplomatic list when he arrives in Israel on March 20, 2013, primarily pertaining to ‘settlements’. The Maariv report signals the Ashkenazi chareidi party is willing to back uprooting all yishuvim with the exception of the so-called settlement blocs, which would include Efrat, Ariel, and Maale Adumim in return for continued yeshiva funding. They have reached a point, a source quoted by Maariv reports, that Yahadut Hatorah will raise the issue of how much it costs to maintain and protect isolated yishuvim in Yehuda and Shomron as compared to yeshiva funding.
The formation of this document appears to represent a cessation of efforts to form a religious bloc with Naftali Bennett and his Bayit HaYehudi party, realizing Bennett remains committed to his agreement with Yesh Atid and Yair Lapid.
There is no mention of Shas in the Maariv report, but Yahadut Hatorah and Shas have both stated one will not enter the coalition without the other.
Regarding the prime minister’s need to bring the coalition to a majority, he is still working to bring Labor on board with its 15 seats, or in worst case scenario, it is reported that he has offered Labor MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer support for his bid to become the next president if he and a number of Laborites defect and join the coalition, giving him the required majority. In such a case, Bennett and Lapid may opt to remain in opposition, or take what is offered for the sweet deal for signing on will no longer be available.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)